As a prospective tenant you will be vetted and thoroughly checked by a landlord or the agent. This will be carried out before they allow you to move into the property. They will ask you many questions, carry out referencing and credit checks. But what checks are you carrying out on a potential landlord or his agent before you decide to go ahead with your new home? It is just as important for you to know about your potential landlord, agent or property as them know about you!

Here are a few ideas for questions that will help you to make a decision before you commit to the rental:

1. What Fees and charges will you have to pay at the beginning, during and the end of the tenancy?

From 1 June 2019, the only payments that landlords or letting agents can charge to tenants in relation to new contracts, ‘in brief’ are:

  • rent
  • a refundable tenancy deposit capped at no more than 5 weeks’ rent
  • a refundable holding deposit (to reserve a property) capped at no more than 1 week’s rent
  • payments associated with early termination of the tenancy, when requested by the tenant
  • payments capped at £50 (or reasonably incurred costs, if higher) for any variation to the tenancy
  • payments in respect of utilities, communication services, TV licence and Council Tax
  • a default fee for late payment of rent and replacement of a lost key/security device

2. Who will you be paying your rent to?

Just because you have seen the property advertised with an agent and that agent carried out the viewing, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you we will be paying the rent to them. Some landlords employ agents to carry out a tenant find service and then take over the management themselves so be sure you know, ask to meet the landlord or ask the agent questions to reassure yourself.

3.  What is included in the rent?

You may find some utilities are included, usually not but some are.  Will you need a permit for parking your car?  Is there a cleaner or gardener that you will contribute to.  If you have a pet ensure the agent or landlord knows that from the outset and does your rent include the agreement for you to have a pet?  Often now there is a rent price without a pet and a slightly inflated rent to include a pet which is perfectly permissible but be sure you know.

4.  How do you report any maintenance and who do you report it to?

Again, some landlords may employ an agent to deal with all the property management in which case be sure the agent explains how this works, especially out of hours issues.  If the landlord manages the property be clear about the number to call for issues or email address if you want to keep a track of communications.  These details should be on your Tenancy Agreement but worth checking with the landlord and if he doesn’t live nearby who will he contact to help you? 

5. How long is the term of the tenancy? Can it be renewed?

It is good to plan for the future and all eventualities.  You will be expected to say if you are looking for longer term or just 6 months so be sure to check your landlords plans for the property, subject to unforeseen circumstances of course.

6. Who will provide the detailed inventory at the start of the tenancy, landlord or agent? 

It is very important that you check this against the property as soon as you move in and take any extra photographs yourself and note any amendments and return a copy to ensure the best chance of your deposit return at the end of the tenancy.  Thorough checking now will save any tricky disputes at the end.

7. Who will check the Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide Detectors on the first day of the tenancy?

This is a legal requirement!  Ideally you should be provided with a signed declaration that this has been done.

8. Are there any reviews on your landlord or agent?

If you book a holiday you look for reviews or recommendations so why would you not do this for your new home/landlord/agent?  Maybe ask previous tenants? If an agent, check for reviews or testimonials. If you are into social media, ask friends contacts?

We hope this has been helpful and wish you luck and every happiness in your New Home